Bacterial Footprints in Elastic Pillared Microstructures

Abstract
Soft substrates decorated with micropillar arrays are known to be sensitive to deflection due to capillary action. In this work, we demonstrate that micropillared epoxy surfaces are sensitive to single drops of bacterial suspensions. The micropillars can show significant deformations upon evaporation, just as capillary action does in soft substrates. The phenomenon has been studied with five bacterial strains: S. epidermidis, L. sakei, P. aeruginosa, E. coli, and B. subtilis. The results reveal that only droplets containing motile microbes with flagella stimulate micropillar bending, which leads to significant distortions and pillar aggregations forming dimers, trimers, and higher order clusters. Such deformation is manifested in characteristic patterns that are left on the microarrayed surface following evaporation and can be easily identified even by the naked eye. Our findings could lay the ground for the design and fabrication of mechanically responsive substrates, sensitive to specific types of microorganisms.

Citation
Susarrey-Arce, A., Hernández-Sánchez, J. F., Marcello, M., Diaz-Fernandez, Y., Oknianska, A., Sorzabal-Bellido, I., … Raval, R. (2018). Bacterial Footprints in Elastic Pillared Microstructures. ACS Applied Bio Materials, 1(5), 1294–1300. doi:10.1021/acsabm.8b00176

Publisher
American Chemical Society (ACS)

Journal
ACS Applied Bio Materials

DOI
10.1021/acsabm.8b00176

arXiv
1910.03030

Additional Links
https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsabm.8b00176http://clok.uclan.ac.uk/33618/1/33618 Applied Bio Materials. Alina.2018.ACS BioMat.pdf

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